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NASA advances and So Cal keeps the dream alive

 
After the second day of Under-19 Girls group play, one of the four teams qualified for the National Championship final while another fell out of contention setting up a crucial third day of matches for two of the teams on Friday.
 
Today, So Cal Blues – Dido (CA-S) won their match against the defending National Champions FC Pennsylvania Strikers (E-PA) 3-1. Both teams displayed their defensive prowess in the first 45 minutes of play with neither team able to get on the scoreboard. However, a Jocelyn Blankenship goal just two minutes into the second half broke the deadlock.
 
Teammate Kodi Lavrusky tallied So Cal’s second goal, her second of the tournament, in the 63rd minute. Penn Strikers pulled one back in the 80th minute with a goal from Gina DiTaranto. The margin was again increased just a minute later when So Cal’s Blankenship got the ball outside the 18 yard box and slipped a shot into the bottom right corner to add a little insurance for So Cal. Blankenship’s brace completed the So Cal 3-1 win. 
 
So Cal Head Coach Dido Tshimanga talked about his team after the game, "Consistency is big for our team. We need to maintain our discipline because we have a roster full of really good and talented players. The key for us is to play to the strength of those individuals."
 
"We have been here multiple times and so we are expecting it to be competitive. We brought in a mix of players to play with our nucleus of girls and we are fortunate to be gelling and peaking at the right time. To win the National Championship would be a great closing of youth soccer for these girls. They’ll be able to say, ‘I stopped playing as a youth as the National Champions.’"
 
So Cal will look for a win or tie in Friday’s game against NASA 12 Elite II (GA) to guarantee their place in the National Championship Final.
 
NASA 12 Elite II (GA) looked to continue their winning ways in the other Under-19 Girls match today against LSC EGA Bravo (NE). Just 12 minutes in, NASA’s Cara Smith scored the lone goal to give the Georgia side a 1-0 lead.
 
With the win, NASA becomes the first team to qualify for the National Championship final at the 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championships and Penn Strikers fall out of the running for a spot in the final.
 
Bravo will use tomorrow’s day off to prepare for Friday’s game against Penn Strikers. Bravo needs a win and a So Cal loss to keep their hopes alive.  Bravo currently is sitting three goals behind So Cal in goal differential.
 
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